By Todd Lancaster
---- — The "new" season begins for both Washington and North Daviess on Friday. Both will open sectional play at home, with ND talking on Springs Valley and Washington hosting Brownstown Central. Both teams are coming off wins.
Springs Valley (1-8) at North Daviess (7-2)
The North Daviess Cougars (7-2) got an up close and personal look at their opening-round sectional opponent last Friday night.
And they liked what they saw.
The Cougars dismantled Springs Valley (1-8), 67-24, in what served to be a sectional preview of the two teams that will be squaring off Friday.
However, ND coach Scott Helms was quick to point out that this Friday is different week and the tournament is a brand new season.
"We expect this to be a very different week," said Helms. "We really got rolling in the first quarter. Before you knew it we were up 21-0. Neither we, nor they, think this game will start off the same way," added Helms.
Helms believes that Springs Valley will try to stretch out the game and try to keep the potent North Daviess offense off the field.
"It is the same thing we would try to do," added Helms.
"We know that they can be very dangerous. If (Blackhawk running backs) 7 and 34 get into the open field, there is nothing we can do about it. They are also very tough in the flats. Those are the things we are going to have to keep an eye on."
Helms said he was very proud of his offensive and defensive lines on Friday night.
"I thought the defensive line did a great job of supporting our linebackers and our offensive line was really good," he said. "Jacob Reed did a nice job at corner, while Alex Wittmer has really helped out at safety in the center field spot."
One of the biggest changes was to move senior Brady Helms to tight end and move Sam Chapin to quarterback.
"That helps us now and in the future. This give Sam a chance to get some very meaningful minutes to help prepare him for next season, as well as help us as we go deeper into the tournament where you have to be able to throw the ball."
However, the big story was again senior running back Colton Lengacher. He again posted just under 300 yards and now holds just about every North Daviess single-season and career rushing record. He rushed for seven touchdowns against Springs Valley, however in spite of that monumental effort, that single-game record is still held by Brett Markel with eight. If the Cougars move past Valley on Friday, they will face the winner of the Perry Central-North Knox game.
"That should be a whale of a game," said Helms.
North Knox will be coming off a loss to Washington, while PC is 7-2 and riding a four-game winning streak, including a 56-6 win over Mitchell.
Kickoff will be at 7 p.m.
Brownstown Central (9-0) at WHS (1-8)
The Washington Hatchets know about challenges. They have faced one of the best teams in Evansville in Bosse, one of the best in 4A in Jasper, and one of the best in Illinois in Mt. Carmel. Now they face one of the top teams in 3A in Brownstown Central at sectional.
The Brownstown Central Braves come into the game ranked No. 5 and with a perfect 9-0 record, however, the Braves are facing a team that has been playing its best football of the season.
"They are a solid team and they are coming in 9-0," added Brashear. "However, their coach was quick to say that they don't play the same type of schedule that we do."
The Braves have been coached by Reed May for 21 years now and he has amassed a 205-41 record there. They have won nine sectionals and two regionals under May. This year the Braves are averaging just under 50 points a game and giving up just under nine points per contest.
However, on Friday, the Hatchets defeated a solid North Knox team, 28-13 to pick up their first win of the season.
"We played four good quarters against North Knox. This was probably the first time this season we have done that. We played well against Jasper, and we brought the same level of intensity into the North Knox game and we were fortunate to come away with the victory."
"Defensively we were pretty darn good in our 3-5 defense. It started with Eric Long, James Sidebottom and Jeff Harrawod," said Brashear. "They set the tone for us. We blocked pretty all night and kept the ball on the ground."
The Hatchets got another big night from Jaden Arvin with 100 yards, followed by Edrwin Revolorio with 64 and Jake Brashear for 25.
With 1,066 rushing yards for the season, Arvin is just three yards behind Justin Browning (1,069 in 1997) for 10th place all time on the Hatchet single-season rushing list. His 95 yards rushing at North Knox pushed him past Dan Solliday (1,021 in 1975) into 11th place all time.
Brashear said that the team that Brownstown most reminds him of, is North Daviess.
"They have a big fullback that will remind most of Colton Lengacher. They are about a 50/50 run pass ratio. They mostly run the broken bone (a type of wishbone offense), but pass more than ND."
Brashear said they will go deep, but that they tend to favor the shorter crossing routes.
"We need to keep players in front of us and do a solid job of tackling," Brashear added. "I think you will see a 'bend not break' type of coverage."
Kickoff at Hatchet Hollow will be at 7:30 p.m.